Fronteras: Letters To The World & A San Antonio Record Shop Spins The Hits | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: Letters To The World & A San Antonio Record Shop Spins The Hits

Sep 14, 2018

A new book for young adults reflects on the life of voting rights activist and West Side San Antonio native Willie Velasquez. Author Bárbara Renaud Gonzalez  (0:17) joins us to discuss her new novel. Then, a West Side San Antonio record shop spins the oldies and keeps neighborhood pride alive (15:57).


Voting Rights Activist Willie Velasquez’ Letters To The World

William C. Velasquez, Jr. died on June 15, 1988 from kidney cancer.

Barbara Renaud Gonzalez
Credit Denise McVey

In his short 44 years, this West Side San Antonio native became a voting rights icon. Taking his cue from the African-American civil rights movement, Velasquez founded the Southwest Voter Registration Project in 1974. The group organized 1,000 voter registration drives across the southwest, and helped win 85 voting rights lawsuits.

FRONTERAS EXTRALetters To The World From Willie Velasquez

In 1974, 2.4 million Latinos were registered to vote. By 1998, that number grew to 7 million. The Pew Research Center shows the number of Latinos registered to vote in 2016 was over 27 million.

Thirty years after Velasquez’ death, his “resurrection” is the premise of the book “Dear San Antonio, I’m Gone but Not Lost: Letters to the World from your Voting Rights Hero Willie Velasquez on the Occasion of his Rebirth.”

Gonzalez is the author of this collection of posthumous letters, written in the spirit of Willie Velasquez to his family, friends, and fellow activists.

Javier Gutierrez surveys the vinyl records on shelves at the family business Del Bravo Records.
Credit Brian Kirkpatrick / Texas Public Radio

West Side Record Shop Part Of San Antonio's New Cultural Heritage District

Texas Public Radio’s Brian Kirkpatrick takes us to a West Side San Antonio record store, along one of the city’s historic main drags, where they are still spinning the oldies.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1